Jun 17, 2010

How To Setup A Simple PPTP VPN Server in Ubuntu Linux

Many companies require users to work from home either periodically, or permanently. Maybe a company has field sales. Maybe the executives have to work late nights on presentations and proposals. IT guys certainly have to be able to connect back to the network to fix problems at odd hours. In these cases, companies need a secure method of connecting back in. That method is usually some sort of VPN solution.

I have to say that my favorite VPN solution is not an Open Source one, or one running on Linux for that matter. I know, slap me in the mouth right? No, my favorite is Microsoft’s SSTP, because it is an SSL VPN, so it can get through virtually any firewall. What I mean by that is when a hotel is filtering gre traffic outbound, those who have PPTP VPN’s won’t be able to connect, but since SSL is used a lot on the web, nobody filters it on the outbound, so your SSTP traffic will get through.

linux-poptop That being said, PPTP isn’t completely useless. In fact it is still a very convenient VPN solution because almost every operating system has a client for it. Microsoft’s PPTP setup is every bit as easy to setup as their SSTP solution. The only problem is that you have to pay Microsoft a license for your VPN server. If you don’t want to waste your hard earned money on a silly license just for VPN use, I have a solution for you. Enter Poptop for Linux.

Poptop is an Open Source VPN server for Linux, and installing it and configuring it a snap! To install it just run the following:

>sudo apt-get install pptpd

You can find your configuration files under /etc/ppp/. To add users edit /etc/ppp/chap-secrets with your favorite text editor:

>sudo nano /etc/ppp/chap-secrets

Enter each user as follows:

user    pptpd     password       “*”

You can also have your Poptop server hand out IP addresses. Just specify a range in /etc/pptpd.conf by finding the line remoteip:


Finally, you can set various encryptions settings by editing /etc/ppp/pptpd-options!

This kind of solution is a quick, easy and inexpensive VPN solution for any company. Like I said before, since everything is Open Source, you pay no licenses, and you can add as many users as your server will handle.

What VPN solutions are you using at your company? Cisco, Sonicwall, SSTP, PPTP, OpenVPN? Do you like it? Hate it? Looking for something easier and cheaper? Let us know in the comments.

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